I pursued a career in journalism because I wanted to write about the Astros.
Then, when an opportunity arose to cover the team on one of the biggest stages in sports, I didn’t even think about capitalizing on it. It never dawned on me to request a press pass for the World Series earlier this fall, which likely would have been granted since I write for a newspaper in the heart of Houston.
But you know what? I don’t consider my absence an oversight and don’t feel like I missed out – and not just because the Astros struck out by losing to the Washington Nationals in Game 7 at Minute Maid Park.
No, I just had too many other things going on, and too many other responsibilities, to worry about going to baseball games and fulfilling a childhood dream. I was too busy living out a more adult-like dream, and for that I am thankful.
I’m grateful for the job I have at The Leader, where one former sportswriter took a chance on another. Publisher Jonathan McElvy gave me the opportunity to return to my hometown a little more than a year ago, hiring me as editor, and I can’t thank him enough for doing so.
I’ve enjoyed immersing myself into a vibrant slice of the city that I barely knew while growing up on the outskirts of town. Near Northwest Houston feels like home now, and sharing its stories has been an educational and exhilarating experience.
I’ve learned the ins and outs of real estate development, public education and city government while touching on hot-button topics such as homelessness, gentrification and the stray pet population. I’ve also gotten to write about food and beer, which are two of my personal passions, and I’ve even penned a little bit about the Astros from afar.
I didn’t try to get an up-close look at the World Series because I was engulfed in covering my first election. Although it was technically my second if you count my second day on the job, which was Election Day in 2018.
I also was in the process of purchasing my first home in October. That was one of my other big undertakings – and big blessings – during the last year.
An even bigger life event – and a bigger blessing and much bigger responsibility – is on the horizon. Before the end of the year, I’m expecting my first child along with my beautiful, loving, smart, funny and absolutely charming partner Christine. I literally cannot say enough good things about her, because she and our budding family are that special to me.
The past year also has been trying at times, because I lost two people who also are special to me. My cousin, Philip Zuvanich, who would have turned 21 years old on Nov. 22, died in a car accident in Connecticut over the summer. A couple months later, our beloved Grandmother, Barbara Zuvanich, passed away as well.
It’s still difficult to cope with those losses, but I’m grateful for supportive family members who have helped to ease the burden. I’m also glad I got to spend more time than usual with my Grandmother during the last year, which would not have been possible had I not been given the chance to come back to Houston.
And I’m thankful that my Grandmother got to know Christine and that she found out I’m becoming a father before she passed away. In a memorable moment of irony, my Grandmother made the following sarcastic comment about my beer belly when we visited her on Mother’s Day.
“So how far along are you?” she asked with a sly grin, unaware that Christine was a couple months pregnant at the time.
It made for a funny memory that I’ll always cherish, and it’s funny how things work out.
I never set out to be a news reporter or a newspaper editor. And I never thought I would move back to Houston unless it was to take a job covering the Astros.
But here I am, back home and writing about nearly everything except for baseball.
For that, among many other things, I am thankful.